When he first moved, he slept on a couch in a friend’s squat that had neither heat nor water. He left his wife in Hungary but hopes to bring her to London soon. “I had to come here, I had to try,” Henrik explained. “Some times you just have to take the jump and follow your dream.”
His delicately beautiful paintings were priced at £10.
“Does this really work for you?” I asked, pointing to his makeshift gallery set-up.
“Some weeks I sell nothing, and I get scared and think it was all a mistake. But other weeks I get a commission to paint a mural and I sell some work and I might make £500. So I keep going.”
I spoke with Henrik about his plan. This wasn’t some lazy kid, trying to make a quick buck by avoiding work. Henrik was a thoughtful, accomplished, and dedicated artist with a burning ambition.
Recently he was offered an opportunity working for a large commercial firm. He could make art and be well compensated. Be able to afford a flat and bring his wife over. But he would have to paint subjects that he wasn’t interested in. He’d have to use a medium that held no charm for him, in a style that was totally unlike the one he’d spent years developing. “I have sacrificed so much,” Henrik told me.
Should he take this opportunity?
I know how Henrik eventually answered that question. But how would you? How much would you be willing to sacrifice for your work?
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